Briefline

Mesa County to court in Peters lawsuit: No one can appoint Williams but us

By: - August 31, 2021 6:49 pm
Mesa County BOCC

Mesa County Commissioners Cody Davis, Janet Rowland and Scott McInnis, pictured at an Aug. 23, 2021, meeting, voted to replace Dominion Voting Systems equipment. (Screenshot/Mesa County website)

On the same day that Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold filed a lawsuit against the Mesa County clerk, the county’s board of commissioners jumped in to have a say.

They didn’t oppose what Griswold asked the court to do. They just wanted to be the ones who did it.

Griswold filed the suit Monday in Mesa County district court against Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters as part of an effort to prevent Peters from maintaining authority over elections. Peters is accused of participating in activity that led to the release of election-system hard drive images and passwords to election-fraud conspiracy theorists. The reported breach is the subject of investigations by Griswold, 21st Judicial District Attorney Dan Rubinstein and the FBI.

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Griswold asked the court to appoint former Secretary of State Wayne Williams as the designated election official in Mesa County, in place of Peters, for the Nov. 2 coordinated election.

County commissioners had in fact already given the job to Williams, and before sundown Monday they had filed a “motion to intervene” in Griswold’s case against Peters. Their message to the court: They agree with what Griswold is seeking to accomplish, but under Colorado law it is their prerogative to appoint Williams, and they don’t want to relinquish that right.

The commissioners in their filing, submitted by County Attorney Todd Starr, note that their intervention has practical implications. Since they appointed him, Williams has already executed intergovernmental agreements with Mesa County Valley School District 51 and other political subdivisions, the filing says. If he’s not confirmed as the county’s top election official, “then Mesa County will face significant potential liabilities as a result of the Intergovernmental Agreements that had to be executed,” they tell the court.

Also, they said, since the county is “adverse” to both Griswold and Peters, “neither can adequately represent Mesa County’s interest.”

Peters’ whereabouts remain unknown, and she has not responded to Newsline’s requests for comment.

According to Griswold’s petition to the court, Peters “has not reported for work at the Clerk’s office and is currently outside the state of Colorado.”

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